I am sad to report that none of them have been effective. Probably the product that worked the best would be the Rodan + Fields line. It is quite pricey and then I was told that I should add this AMP roller since it hadn't been as effective as hoped. I decided that I didn't want to spend more money as I had already invested a good amount for a product that didn't do what I wanted it to do. I'm not saying that any of these products are bad, just that on me, it wasn't effective. The one thing that I did notice, especially with the Rodan + Fields line, is that after I stopped using it and didn't use any other whitening/brightening product my complexion did start to look a little dull over time. Perhaps sometime in the future I may consider revisiting the line and include the AMP roller.
In the meantime, I started searching around for a new product to try and discovered the benefits of Vitamin C. We all know that ingesting Vitamin C is good for your body with it being full of antioxidants. I learned that Vitamin C plays a major role in the production of collagen. As we age, our skin naturally loses this vital nutrient over time. This is why we also lose that nice elasticity in our skin that we had in our younger years. As we lose the Vitamin C and the collagen breaks down, the wrinkles start to appear. Topical Vitamin C,whether in the form of serums or lotions, is the best form for battling the signs of aging. It can help to brighten dull skin, prevent wrinkles and lighten dark spots. (NOTE: The products that I used did have Vitamin C properties in it although it didn't help to lighten dark spots much.)
I then found several blogs with DIY Vitamin C serum recipes. Vitamin C serum is actually very easy to make and quite economical! Before I refer to those recipes, let me show you the items needed to make the serum:
Your main basic items that you will need is distilled water, L-ascorbic acid (vitamin c powder), cosmetic grade oil and an amber dropper bottle. pH strips have been recommended but I haven't bothered to get these since I know that I won't bother testing. You will also need a cleansed and sanitized little bowl and utensil to make and mix the serum in.
I first tried a recipe that I found on Primally Inspired, which was a recipe developed from and column written by Jennifer from Jenni Raincloud. I initially liked the ease of this recipe as it was equal parts of items, which made it easy to remember.
I then found another recipe on Oatmeal With A Fork which I liked a lot better. The good thing about this recipe is that it's broken down by strength of the solution. Since I had already been using products, I went straight to the highest strength level.
The recipe by Jenni Raincloud, as I mentioned, was easy to remember because it was equal parts of each ingredient. My main dislike for it was that the L-ascorbic acid did not dissolve and the serum remained quite gritty. I felt that it needed to have more liquids for it to dissolve properly so I tried out the Oatmeal With A Fork recipe since it uses no more than half the amount of L-ascorbic acid as compared to the liquids.
My first attempt, I used glycerin for the oil. It felt good and I could keep it in the refrigerator and it wouldn't harden. It felt so refreshing to put the chilled serum on. The L-ascorbic acid did dissolve well, which is great! However, after using it for almost a week, I discovered it was way too emollient for me as my skin started to breakout a slight bit. It also turned color and started to get a slight funky scent after 4 days. I then tried using jojoba oil instead. I can't refrigerate it as it hardens. This worked out okay but I didn't care too much for the slight scent of the jojoba oil, which got progressively stronger as the days wore on. I then decided to use fractionated coconut oil. This is unscented and I like the anti-bacterial properties of fractionated coconut oil. This also can't be refrigerated but it does seem to last the longest. After 5 or 6 days, it does start to slightly turn color by getting cloudy and a very faint scent does start to develop. This is when I know it is time to discard and make a new batch. At first I doubled the recipe but since you will need to discard and replace with a new batch within a week, the regular recipe amounts are more than sufficient, even if using it twice a day.
It has started to get quite humid here so I decided to cut the fractionated coconut oil in half and increase the distilled water by that amount. I don't think that it's affected the effectiveness any and it is a much lighter hydrating serum that is great for use in the current weather. If you do decide to use fractionated coconut oil, please make sure that it is unscented. I couldn't find any here locally, so I had to purchase it online. The post by Jenni Raincloud has a link for cobalt blue dropper bottles. It is so much prettier than the amber ones so I may have to get a couple.
I have found that using this DIY serum has nicely evened out my skin tone. My face is definitely brighter and looks smooth. I can't say that it has lightened any dark spots but it may take more time. Even if it doesn't lighten the spots, it's still working effectively in other areas. I've even noticed that my neck looks much less crepey.
I am so glad that I looked into this much further and discovered how easy it is to make your own Vitamin C serum for just cents and a little time!
I hope that you haven't gotten tired of seeing DIY posts.